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Canterbury 30-24 Hinckley
Canterbury 30-24 Hinckley

A red card for centre Tom Best three minutes into the second half could have dealt a fatal blow to Canterbury’s prospects but they rose to the challenge briilliantly to dig out a bonus point victory. 

Their fourteen men went on to outscore the first time visitors by two tries to one in that second half and in the process lift themselves above Hinckley in the National 2 South table. 

Trailing by four at the turnaround the city side found themselves in deeper trouble soon after Best was banished for foul play. Hinckley centre Shane Nixon punished them with his side’s fourth try as his strong, long range run left Cameron Coates an easy conversion and Canterbury, now eleven points adrift, with it all to do. 

They found a way through a mixture of positive mindset, grit and and opportunism and after fighting to retake the lead they took charge of the last quarter. 

The city men eased their troubles with a catch and drive try from skipper Jamie Stephens and a smash and grab interception by wing Guy Hilton who stole the ball and ran the length of the field when Hinckley were looking highly dangerous.

Those tries, both conveted by Kyan Braithwaite, came in the space of four minutes and what Canterbury had they successfully decided to hold. 

Early in the game there was plenty of enterprise if not accuracy as the city men went into the lead with the first of hooker Billy Young’s two tries from driving mauls. 

Danny Herriot’s yellow card then gave Hinckley an advantage prop Sam Greening exploited to level matters and Aaron Florenstein pushed them ahead with another short range score.

Canterbury hit back through a Braithwaite penalty goal and when Young  peeled round another surging maul to touch down they were looking at a narrow half time bonus. 

Hinckley’s lively scrum half Ben Pointon made them think again as he shot through a hole in a lineout in the final minute of the half and Joe Wilson slotted the conversion. 

Those swings and roundabouts made for exciting stuff but the real drama was still to come. The sending off tested the city side’s resilience and they can be proud of a response which was crowned by Braithwaite’s late penalty goal after their breakdown battlers forced Hinckley to hold on to the ball illegally.

Canterbury: K.Braithwaite, G.Hilton (repl S.Sterling), F.Morgan, T.Best, D.Corcoran, F.Reynolds, D.Heads (repl B.Cooper), A.Cooper (repl J.Otto), D.Herriott (repl E.Lusher), R.Cadman, S.Churchyard, J.Stephens (repl A.Evans), W.Waddington, T.Oliver.